The Tomahawk City Council will have a decision to make regarding special assessments at their regular meeting scheduled next month.
This comes from last night’s special finance meeting which operated as an open discussion with many members of the public who filled the council chambers. In the end, the Finance Committee sent a recommendation to the council to use a special assessment method used by Marshfield. Rather than assessing 100% to the property owner, they use a formula that has the city paying 1/3 of the cost with the remainder paid by the property owners on each side of the street.
But that recommendation only moved on to the council with chairman Roger Schlegel, joining Bruce Hetzel and Pat Haskin, breaking a 2-2 tie. Don Nelson proposed an amendment that would have put a $1,000 cap per 50 feet, but that failed to get a second. Using rough figures presented, that would reduce the assessment on 4th Street by about 50 percent. That still leaves the range from $1,700 to $10,000
Schlegel as a chair began with an informational presentation which discussed various options for the city. The city does receive $190,000 from the state for roads, but that money goes into the general fund, with only $90,000 coming back into the roads budget. Increases in the road budget would have to be offset from cuts in other city services. That’s because the state caps the amount of tax levy.
Perhaps the most poignant comment came from former council woman Rejeana Ebert. She said that as they crafted the special assessment they worked with good intentions, but sometimes they get it wrong. That was echoed by Jim Graeber who still serves. That was greeted with applause from the audience.
The topic should come up on the next Council meeting in June where they could make that decision on where the city stands on special assessments going forward.